We propose and implement a procedure for enhancing the sensitivity with which one can determine the phase shift experienced by a thermal light beam possessing on average fewer than four photons in passing through an interferometer. Our procedure entails subtracting exactly one (which can be generalized to m) photon from the light field exiting an interferometer containing a phase-shifting element in one of its arms. As a consequence of the process of photon subtraction, the mean photon number and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of the resulting light field are increased, leading to an enhancement of the SNR of the interferometric signal for that fraction of the incoming data that leads to photon subtraction.
- Photon statistics
- Quantum optics
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics